The Art of Theatre,
4th Edition

William Missouri Downs, Wright, Erik Ramsey

ISBN-13: 9781305954700
Copyright 2018 | Published
496 pages | List Price: USD $187.95

THE ART OF THEATRE: THEN AND NOW, 4th Edition, brings the fascinating world of theatre to life with lively coverage of the history, cultural diversity, creativity, controversy -- and even a typical day in the life -- of theatre. As the authors wrote each chapter, they asked themselves how the subject applies to students' lives. The result is a text packed with practical information you can use in everyday life, including insight on censorship, freedom of speech, copyrights, the National Endowment for the Arts, and more. Timely connections drawn between theatre and TV and film help you see how the living stage is unique, and the optional MindTap digital learning solution provides a variety of online study tools to help you ensure your success in the course.


1. Theatre, Art, and Entertainment.
2. Stage vs. Screen.
3. Theatre of the People.
4. Experiencing and Analyzing Plays.
5. A Day in the Life of a Theatre.
6. The Art of Playwriting.
7. The Art of Acting.
8. The Art of Directing.
9. The Art of Design.
10. A Creative Life.
11. The Musical.
12. Theatre Around the World.
13. The Greeks to the Rise of Christianity.
14. The Dark Ages to the Dawn of the Renaissance.
15. The Renaissance.
16. The Restoration, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism.
17. Modern Theatre.

  • William Missouri Downs

    William Missouri Downs is a playwright and director. His plays have been produced by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, The InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, The San Diego Rep, The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Salt Lake City Acting Company, the Actors Theatre of Charlotte, the International Theatre Festival in Israel, the Stadt Theater Walfischgasse in Austria, the Jewish Theatre of Toronto, The Bloomington Playwright's Project, the Detroit Rep, the New York City Fringe Festival, the Durban Performing Arts Center in South Africa, and 150 theatres worldwide. His numerous playwriting awards include two rolling premieres from the National New Play Network ("Women Playing Hamlet" and "The Exit Interview"), and twice he was a finalist at the Eugene O'Neill ("Mad Gravity" and "How to Steal a Picasso"). Samuel French, Playscripts, Next Stage Press, and Heuer have published his plays. In addition, Bill has authored several articles and three other books, including SCREENPLAY: WRITING THE PICTURE and NAKED PLAYWRITING, both published by Silman/James. In Hollywood he was a staff writer on the NBC sitcom "My Two Dads" (starring Paul Reiser). He also wrote episodes of "Amen" (starring Sherman Hemsley) and "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (starring Will Smith) as well as sold/optioned screenplays to Imagine Pictures and Filmways. Trained under the Oscar Nominated Polish Director Jerzy Antczak, Bill has directed over 40 college and professional productions. He holds an MFA in acting from the University of Illinois and an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA. Lanford Wilson and Milan Stitt at the Circle Rep in New York City trained him in playwriting.

  • Wright

    Lou Anne Wright is an actor, dialect coach, professor, and writer; she holds an MFA in Voice, Speech, and Dialects from the National Theatre Conservatory and is a certified Fitzmaurice Voicework teacher. Lou Anne has served as voice/dialect coach for such companies as the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and her film roles include Judy Shepard in HBO's "The Laramie Project" and Nell in "Hearsay". As a playwright, she authored "Kabuki Medea", which won the Bay Area Critics Award for Best Production in San Francisco. It was also produced at the Kennedy Center. She is the coauthor of the book PLAYWRITING: FROM FORMULA TO FORM, and her screenwriting credits include the film adaptation of Eudora Welty's "The Hitch-Hikers", which featured Patty Duke and Richard Hatch (for which she was nominated for the Directors Guild of America's Lillian Gish Award). Lou Anne teaches acting, voice, speech, and dialects at the University of Wyoming, where she has won several teaching awards.

  • Erik Ramsey

    Erik Ramsey is an Associate Professor of Playwriting in the MFA Playwriting Program at Ohio University. His plays have been developed at various theaters including Cleveland Public Theatre, American Stage, Victory Gardens, and Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, and been published by Samuel French and Dramatic Publishing. As a new play dramaturg, he has worked in diverse settings from Steppenwolf Theater to WordBridge Lab. Over the past decade he has been a guest artist and taught playwriting, new play development, and narrative theory in a variety of national and international venues, including the St. Petersburg Academy of Dramatic Arts “New American Plays” Conference and Lubimovka Playwrights Laboratory at Teatr.doc in Moscow. Erik’s newest play, a two-hander for actresses in their 40s, explores the intersection of rodeo clowning and time-travel.

  • THE ART OF THEATRE now includes the option of MindTap®, the digital learning solution that helps instructors engage and transform their students into critical thinkers. Through paths of dynamic assignments and applications that you can personalize, real-time course analytics, and an accessible reader, MindTap® helps you turn cookie-cutter into cutting-edge, apathy into engagement, and memorizers into higher-level thinkers. Offering a range of study tools, MindTap® enables students to test their knowledge with online printable flashcards, online quizzes, and more.

  • Completely revised and updated, the fourth edition is packed with new examples to help students understand aesthetics, the sublime, and the political nature of art.

  • Extensively revised and expanded, Chapter 3 on theatre and cultural diversity has been renamed Theatre of the People and now illustrates how the theatre gives a voice to more than just privileged groups. It covers controversial subjects like the disgraceful history of black face and the political debates surrounding the NEA as well as the positives the theatre offers to empower people.

  • Coverage of playwriting has been expanded and now includes new comparisons to help non-writers understand the art of storytelling.

  • Extensively revamped and retitled, Chapter 12, Theatre Around the World, equips students with a worldview on the many theatre traditions that have been a part of human life.

  • All the history chapters have been enhanced with new photos and easier to understand timelines.

  • Standalone Chapters: While most intro to theatre textbooks are written to be used in an exact sequence, THE ART OF THEATRE: THEN AND NOW, 4th Edition, offers ultimate flexibility. Its seventeen independent, standalone chapters enable professors to choose which subjects they want to cover and in what order. This allows professors to custom create the precise class they want to teach instead of having to follow a prescribed mandate.

  • Download Only the Chapters You Want: Because each chapter is autonomous, THE ART OF THEATRE can be completely customized to follow exactly what professors want to teach -- and avoid the chapters they don't want. As a result, students download -- and pay for -- only what they need. The download option also gives them the convenience of reading their assignments on their tablet, smart phone, or computer.

  • A Diversity of Subjects: Offering breadth and depth of coverage, the seventeen chapters of the fourth edition explore acting, playwriting, directing, design and musical theatre as well as creativity, a day in the life of a typical theatre and the many diverse types of theatre that can be found around the world. There is also a chapter on how to attend the theatre, detailing everything from etiquette to freedom of speech to dramatic criticism. For those who want to include theatre history, comprehensive yet fast moving chapters cover the life and times of theatre from its roots in African storytelling to modern absurdism.

  • Stage vs. Screen: Because today's students are products of the digital age, Chapter 2, Stage vs. Screen, helps them understand the differences between theatre and their familiar world of film and television. Information includes distinctions in funding, creative control, copyright, and more.

  • Tell It Like It Is: While most intro to theatre texts are feel good books that shy away from debatable subjects, THE ART OF THEATRE tells the whole story. In addition to many feel-good moments, the text also explores the issues and controversies that have surrounded the theatre for thousands of years -- giving students a more interesting read, more stimulating class discussion, and more to think about.

  • Well Reviewed: Used by tens of thousands of students and hundreds of professors, THE ART OF THEATRE has also been reviewed by one hundred academics to ensure the material is timely and accurate.

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.

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